Securing Southern Iraq
Recently, ISW President Kim Kagan sat down with Colonel Charles Flynn and Major Matthew Brooke of the 1st Brigade Combat Team/82nd Airborne Division to talk about their experiences combating Shi’a militias and Special Groups in southern Iraq. Col. Flynn, the brigade commander, and Maj. Brooke, the Senior Intelligence Officer for the brigade, returned from Iraq in August 2008. In March, they were the first to respond as fighting broke out in the Battle for Basra.
Be sure to watch the ISW Webcast with Col Flynn and Maj Brooke as they present their assessment of the southern provinces - the security that they and their Iraqi partners achieved, as well as the long-term political, economic, religious, and military challenges that remain.
While all eyes were on the change of command in Iraq, ISW research manager Marisa Cochrane has been watching the trend of Special Groups activity. In her recent commentary, The Return of Special Groups, Cochrane points out that Iranian-backed fighters are once again pouring across the Iran-Iraq border in an attempt to destabilize progress that has been made. How Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces deal with this increasing threat will be vital to stability.
ISW has also updated the Iraq Statistics Reference for September 2008. The Iraq Statistics Reference uses charts and graphs to show trends of insurgent organization and activity, cache discoveries, casualty rates and trends of violence.